It has been one year and six months since the arrest and detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on 14th October 2015. Prominent members of the group also detained included Benjamin Madubugwu , David Nwawuisi , Chidiebere Onwudiwe and many others languishing in custody.
The agitation for an independent state of Biafra was borne out of the scars of the past (events that led to the Nigeria- Biafra Civil war and its aftermath) which are yet to be addressed till today and the long term marginalization of some sections of the country.
Government using the instruments of coercion instead of working towards addressing the anomalies chose the option of force in quelling such agitations and that is one area they will continue to get it wrong. Experience the world over has shown that the use of force in quelling such agitations emboldens the proponents to wax stronger in their zeal. The more, they are killed, the more their spirits gingered to forge ahead.
Mr. President had in a Presidential media chat sometime ago literarily convicted Nnamdi Kanu on air for acts bordering on terrorism even without verifiable facts or allowing the lawyers and the judges to do their work in the court.
But it is a settled fact that agitations for self determination or rights of the people to existence are recognized globally in so far as the proponents doesn’t use or advocate violence to achieve their goals.
The Nigerian Government in 1993 signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1976 whose Article 1 provided the Citizens Rights to Self Determination so also Article 20 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 1981 ratified and domesticated by Nigeria in 1983.
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended gave provisions for Rights to Life, Dignity of the Human Person, Personal Liberty, Freedom of expression, Movement, Peaceful Assembly and Association including Freedom from Discrimination in Chapter 4, Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 41 and 42 respectively.
The continued incarceration of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his loyalists is totally condemned and uncalled for; it is more political than backed with verifiable evidence of criminality. We call for their unconditional release without further delay. The same treatment should be extended to all other pro biafran groups languishing in various prisons and detention centres across the country.
The law enforcement agents should give them protection while they are carrying out any rally and ensure that such programs are not hijacked by criminal elements. They should not be mowed down by trigger happy and blood thirsty agents in uniform.
Their killings should stop forthwith. The present panel set up by the FG through the Army to probe such killings is nothing but a mockery of the whole system because one cannot be a judge in his own case. The best bet to handle all the unlawful killings in Nigeria and ensure justice for the victims, the perpetrators and the society is for an international body to come in assisted by credible human rights/civil society groups.
Being excerpts from the 23 pages report on the state of the nation and focus on Anambra during a world press conference by the CLO South East Zone as presented by the Chairman, Comrade Aloysius Attah. 08035090548 , firstname.lastname@example.org